LAS VEGAS--Previous Best of CES winner QNX was back at the show for 2013 with a new concept car, this time a Bentley Continental GT convertible, with an even more high-tech assortment of features.
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The QNX Bentley uses a large, curved color touch screen in the center stack and a full LCD instrument cluster.
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The touch screen is curved to match the range of an average human arm from the driver's seat for more comfortable reaching. Rather than capacitive or resistive touch sensitivity, the Bentley's screen uses an interesting optical touch sensitivity that allows Bentley to do some creative things with the interface.
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QNX was able to embed a physical control knob near the bottom of the screen that the user can touch and twist. Because this is a Bentley, QNX styled it to look like the brand's trademark Breitling clock.
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Tapping various icons on the screen changes the virtual interface and the function of the physical control knob. Here, we see the knob being used for climate controls, but it can also be used for volume control, zooming the map, etc.
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The QNX Bentley features a number of voice, video, and text-based communication technologies. For example, HD voice calling boosts call quality to a level comparable to that of a CD with stereo separation. Incoming e-mails and text messages can be fielded when the vehicle is parked and, presumably, read aloud. Users can also interact with many of the QNX Bentley's functions via voice command.
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However, the coolest communication technology is the video-conferencing tech built right into the dashboard. With the car parked, users can initiate bidirectional video calls. Start driving, however, and the video feed is hidden from the driver for safety purposes, but the voice call continues seamlessly.
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The Bentley features a pair of barely-there digital cameras pointed at the driver and passenger seat to facilitate the calling.
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Like any infotainment system worth its salt these days, QNX's concept features integration for car-centric apps. The apps are installed on the car's entertainment system and make use of its data connection, so they can be used even if you forget your cell phone.
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This very glossy instrument cluster consists of a large LCD that displays virtual gauges and auxiliary information that can be configured by the driver.
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Auxiliary dash data
When you're navigating, the instrument cluster can display your next few driving instructions. When you're listening to music, the current audio source can be displayed.
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3D rearview camera
Shift the car into reverse and the Bentley's instrument cluster changes to a video output for the rearview camera. Glasses-less 3D technology and a stereoscopic rearview camera allow the QNX Bentley's driver a unique view of what's behind.
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Here, we can see the two cameras that are used to build the 3D rearview.
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Finally, QNX has built a cloud-based telematics system that is accessible via smartphone. The whole interface lives in the cloud and is served to a smartphone via its Web browser -- no app installation required -- and allows the user to instantaneously view a wide range of information about the vehicle.
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QNX tells us that drivers can do all of the tasks that we've come to expect from a telematics system, including honking the horn, locking and unlocking the doors, and flashing the lights. Drivers can also raise and lower the Bentley's roof and windows from anywhere in the world.